$50,000 reward offered in shooting death of transgender woman

Aniya Parker's sister, Adrian, pleads for someone to come forward in the shooting death of her sister, a transgender woman, at a news conference Friday at City Hall.
(Nicole Santa Cruz / Los Angeles Times)

Officials on Friday announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the early-morning killing of a transgender woman during what police said was a street robbery gone bad.

Authorities are also looking for a possible witness who was with Aniya Knee Parker at the time she was killed.

Parker, 47, was near Melrose and North Kenmore avenues in East Hollywood shortly before 3 a.m. on Oct. 2 when she got into a dispute with three men, Los Angeles police said.


The dispute escalated, and surveillance video taken near the scene shows a struggle for a purse. Parker was shot as she tried to run away, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The purse containing $24 was left at the scene.

“This is one of those unfortunate crimes that we’re going to solve with the community’s help,”
said LAPD Rampart Division Capt. Brian Pratt.

Detectives are trying to find out more information about where Parker was just before the botched robbery, and are searching for a person whom she was having a “friendly conversation with” before the crime.

Parker’s sister described her as a person who loved family and enjoyed thrift store shopping, often bringing home items for her family.

“We just want to know why,” Adrian Parker said at a news conference at City Hall announcing the reward. “We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.”

She urged someone to come forward.

“Step up to the plate and do what’s right,” she said.

Although police don’t believe Aniya Knee Parker’s death was related to her gender identity, Christopher Argyros, the manager of the LA LGBT Center’s Anti-Violence Project, said transgender people are often targeted and victims of violence.

“We believe it is very possible Ms. Parker was targeted because of her identity,” Argyros said.

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest transgender communities in the U.S., members of which are often on alert, Argyros said.

“Transgender people are victims of crime all the time,” he said.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Rampart Homicide detectives at (213) 484-3623.

For more homicide news, follow @nicolesantacruz on Twitter